Inside Higher Ed
February 17th, 2015
The University of Denver has never been one of the many colleges where part-time, semester-to-semester faculty members lacking institutional support make up the majority of instructors. Denver employs relatively few part-time adjuncts, and those it does hire usually have other jobs and teach one or two courses based on their professional expertise. But the institution employs a good number of full-time, non-tenure-track faculty who, despite being compensated relatively well, with benefits, have little job security. Some lecturers and clinical faculty members, as they’re called at Denver, have worked there for more than 20 years but still work on annual contracts with no guarantee of renewal.
So when Denver’s faculty members undertook updating the institution’s more than a decade old appointment, promotion and tenure policies several years ago, they decided to take a somewhat radical approach: Why not establish professional pathways and long-term contracts for valued, non-tenure-track faculty members? Not everyone supported the idea at first -- a small but vocal minority of tenure-line faculty members continued to oppose the idea throughout. But by the time the university’s Board of Trustees approved Denver’s new Policies and Procedures Relating to Faculty Appointment, Promotion and Tenure document last month, more than 85 percent of the faculty was behind it.